Nano Dimension Ltd., a leader in the field of 3D printed electronics, developed novel oxidation-resistant copper nanoparticle inks that are resistant to oxidation and also fuse into a conductive line after the sintering process at temperatures lower than 160 degrees Celsius. The subsidiary has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for this unique development.
The main challenge in developing nano-copper ink is the oxidation of the particles, including oxidation during sintering into a continuous conductive trace. Typically, the sintering of copper nanoparticles requires significant energy (high temperatures, lasers, powerful lamps) in an oxygen-free atmosphere, which can be an expensive and complex process.
Nano Dimension has developed novel copper nanoparticles that are resistant to oxidation in air, and also during the sintering process that is required to create a continuous conductive trace. The innovative copper nanoparticles are packed into a unique spherical cluster and have properties similar to a core/shell structure.
The innovative copper nanoparticles are used as a basis to develop conductive ink that can significantly reduce the cost of the raw materials used in 3D printing of electronics and PCBs.
Copper is the second most conductive element after silver, but is significantly cheaper. Development of a stable, oxidation-resistant, low-temperature sintering copper ink is a breakthrough in inkjet technology and has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of printing conductive traces. This development may open Nano Dimension to many additional markets and various printing applications such as printing on flexible films like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can withstand temperatures of up to 100 to 150 degrees Celsius, radio frequency identification antennas, membrane switches and sensors.